Immortal X-Men #11

Issue Date: 
July 2023
Story Title: 
A Hard Reign

Kieron Gillen (writer), Lucas Werneck (artist), David Curiel (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller and Jay Bowen (design),Mark Brooks (cover artist), Phil Noto, Federico Vincentini, Leinil Francis Yu (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laure Amaro (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

After some time, Storm has the four tainted Council members brought back from the Pit. Guarded by Rasputin IV, they are led to Forge’s lab. Under his leadership, the scientists have found a way to remove Sinister’s taint. After the procedure is done, the four believe business will continue as usual, but Storm tells them they will no longer have a vote on the council, as they cannot be 100 percent sure they are clean. When the four protests, Storm makes them watch a film created from Rasputin’s memories and Mother Righteous’s intel, showing what happened in the Sinister timeline and what they did. The four are horrified at their own actions and comply. Storm and Xavier confront Destiny about what she knows but, as usual, she keeps her cards close. They are also distracted by Hope and Exodus fighting, or rather Hope fighting at Exodus for his betrayal in the Sinister timeline. Storm tries to separate them and points out people are looking up to them. They land at an isolated stretch of land where Hope uses her power to block his and then kicks his ass before ordering him to never come close to her again. Mother Righteous, in the meantime, leaves a message from the future for Mystique and gets a ‘thank you’ in return. Storm, who needs to return to Arakko, asks Xaver if he wants to talk about Magneto’s death, but he wants to do this in his own time. Storm confronts Emma about her lack of reaction to her Sinister self, and Emma turns the tables by pointing out that Storm wasn’t controlled by anyone but it took her five years to figure this out, because she is more interested in playing queen on Arakko. Storm bristles at her insinuations but has to leave for Arakko. Shaw, in the meantime, wants to make a deal with Mother Righteous. If things go south, he wants to own Krakoa. She agrees but wants him to get certain motions through the Quiet Council in return. After some days, Storm returns, having thought about Emma’s accusations. She has found a way. Should she be gone during council business, she wants Colossus to have her proxy vote.

Full Summary: 

The Grove:
Storm is standing with Rasputin IV at the point where some time before Krakoa swallowed four of their members. Cypher is there as well, as a translator to Krakoa. Storm decides there is only one point where they can start. With Professor X.

She remembers she was once happy, loved and needed, where she lived, and Xavier dragged her away from that place to help save his project. He came and told her that caring for a people was a lie. He accused her of hubris. Angrily, she thinks that he accused her of hubris, while secretly planning paradise on Earth!

Doug talks to Krakoa and Xavier is brought up. Rasputin secures hm both physically and telepathically. Storm orders Doug to bring up the rest and, one after the other, Exodus, Emma Frost and Hope Summers are brought up and secured. Then they are led to Forge.

Xavier protests about the brusque handling. Rasputin IV replies that, where she is from, his words were a brand burned into trillions of minds. She saw the result of his worst fears. She needs to be careful! Being in a passive-aggressive mood, Xavier apologizes half-heartedly, but points out they are trying to prevent this. They went voluntarily into the Pit and it is not pleasant down there. They have done everything to secure Krakoa’s future. Storm has had it. Yes, now, when it is too late! she reprimands him sharply. Disgusted, she ask what he has done.

Soon, the four are strapped into a giant, bio-organic machine, courtesy of Forge. He had asked Storm if he could spearhead the recovery project. When Storm asked why, he told her he’s got experience cleaning up when science goes bad. It will be a nice change, cleaning up someone else’s mess. She smiled and thought sometimes it was easy to remember why they were once together.

Storm tells him to go ahead and he explains matters to the four. All the Krakoan scientists worked together trying to find the Sinister in the genetic database. First, they found nothing, and then they did on a second try. Sinister created a sub-dimensional loop in the DNA sample which coils into another dimension and is almost totally invisible. The only sign is a one-basepair stitch. But in there is another genome. Toxic as hell. He doesn’t think they can destroy it, but they can just excise the loop, meaning the additional genome is lost in another dimension.

Emma expresses gratitude and they are all relieved. Storm thinks that moment won’t last. Forge activates the machine.

With the procedure done, they step down. Emma breezily announces that, now that they have washed that awful man right out of her genes, they should return to Council business. Storm simply says ‘no’. Exodus bristles and demands answers. Storm asks Forge to explain.

Forge clarifies that, while he thinks it is all gone, they don’t really know if he got it all, or whether it will return. They missed it before, after all. Who knows what other tricks Sinister has left in them? Storm adds, they are being careful. Xavier is removed from resurrection duties. The Cuckoos will cover that Hope’s work will continue at a reduced rate, but anyone she brings back will go through Forge’s process and be under psychic surveillance. They could be compromised too.

What about their votes on the council? Xavier asks. Storm replies that, until they can be sure, they don’t have any. This is court politics of the basest sort! Exodus explodes. Xavier tries to rein him in, stating Ororo wouldn’t resort to such tactics. Irene perhaps… Storm briefly hopes, but then he continues that the problem is they can never prove a negative. He admonishes Storm. He only wishes to protect Krakoa but, if she wishes it, excise them from the council.

Storm angrily interrupts there is something they need to see. They are led to four chairs grouped around a center of screens. Storm explains that Mother Righteous provided a detailed historical record of the timeline and Rasputin IV offered psychic access to herself to corroborate it.

A film? Xavier scoffs and suggests they do this with telepathy. Storm replies that she needs them to do this the old-fashioned way. She thinks she needs this to linger to get them to realize that things can’t go on. She watches the four’s facial expressions while the see what they did.

When they get up, they are clearly shaken to the core and Storm allows herself to hope. Exodus tries to talk to Hope. She orders him to stay the /&% away and leaves.

A dejected Xavier asks what Storm needs from them. She explains that they can’t be publicly seen to dismiss four members from the Council. And they can’t afford to lose their input. They will sit on the Council, but they don’t get to vote. Plus, Rasputin will be their personal security at all times.

Xavier doubts the safety of this arrangement, as Rasputin is a creature of Sinister. Rasputin chimes in, noting he created her explicitly to be free of any Sinister influence. He bound her with lies, not genetics.

Xavier asks what happened while they were in the Pit. The Moiras? Destiny’s machinations? Storm asks him to come with her. She needs his talent.

They walk to the Grove, where currently there is only Destiny. Wryly she welcomes Xavier back and announces he looks well. He is not well, Xavier replies simply. He has been in a purgatory and learned he carries the sins of a galaxy. Can they skip the pleasantries? She knew of the Moira Engines. She really couldn’t find a way to tell them? Destiny replies that it was always too big a risk. She couldn’t know where the Moira was. She prodded Nathaniel’s ego, so he’d continue the timeline rather than reset while trying not to give away what she knew. She tried to maneuver to timelines where they could be rid of him. And one was the Red Diamond timeline.

Storm reminds her that, in that future, Destiny tricked Storm into stealing the Moira Engine. She knew where keeping it led, how many people died. Destiny knows how to deactivate the X-gene, as she did with the real Moira. Why didn’t she deactivate it, when she had the chance?

Destiny doesn’t know what decision was made by a future version of her. She is not that woman. Now she will never be that woman.

Storm demands a better answer and Xavier warns he will know if Destiny lies. Destiny replies that, after the timeline opened up after the desertion of the Moira Engine, the future is still a tangle. She is still trying to make sense of all she sees, but she remembers visions of Ororo’s future self believing that they couldn’t access the Moiras without risking their activation. They were able to steal the lab, but it was trapped in a near indestructible shell, and Sinister was sure to have left failsafes. As such, Storm chose to guard it rather than risk having deaths beyond imagining.

But Destiny’s choices? She claims the Moira Engine has played havoc with her gifts and time is no longer linear. She saw timelines where after a reset the Moira engine would be destroyed. She saw Rasputin IV arresting Sinister. She saw timelines where Rasputin was created. She presumes that, when she was later in the timeline, she saw how things connected. She presumes she guided them to a nexus where a vengeful Rasputin would ally with Mother Righteous. They can thank her now if they wish, she adds. Storm accuses her of hiding something behind that truth. There is something else, isn’t there? She says, she saw multiple timelines where Sinister fell but she chose this one. Why did she keep that timeline running? Destiny announces that the meeting ends now. She doesn’t get to dictate that! Storm snaps. Destiny clarifies she doesn’t dictate but say what is going to happen.

Xavier gets what she is referring to, namely Hope Summers tearing into Exodus in the air above Krakoa. “You Judas!” she screams as she strikes at him with her borrowed power. Storm flies to intervene but warns Destiny she cannot hide the truth from her for long. Destiny sighs, it is not Storm she is trying to hide the truth from…

In the quarters she shares with Destiny, Mystique is surprised by Mother Righteous. Before Mother can finish her greeting, Mystique has her on the ground with a knife at her throat. She is feisty, Mother Righteous laughs. Doesn’t trust her? Raven gets up and announces she doesn’t trust anybody. That she is still alive, shows she trusts her more than most. What does she want? Mother Righteous claims she is still working through the Sinister files she got from the future, which is a right old mess. She found a message from Irene to Sinister and wanted to drop it off.

Raven promises she will get it. Mother Righteous lays down the recorder and adds it is about Raven. “Thank you, Mother Righteous,” she suggests. Raven diffidently thanks her.

When the other woman is gone, she plays the message of Irene to Sinister about how she helped steal the lab.

In the skies, Storm hits Hope and Exodus with a lightning bolt, which given their power is little more than having water thrown in their faces. What are they doing? she demands. Hope shouts Exodus saw what he did to her in the future and still expects her to want to have anything to do with him!

Getting between them, Storm reminds Hope how much she means to Krakoa as the leader of the Five, and Exodus as her shield who stood defiant on Judgment Day. Do they want the people to see them like this? Hope notices the people looking up for the first time and swears.

Hope and Exodus land somewhere without people, with Storm still in the air. Exodus announces he grieves and will do penance. Calling Hope “messiah,” he states this changes nothing about them. If she does not wish to fight, the fight is over. He would not strike her. He reminds her that she can only fight because she is borrowing his power. Hope asks if he knows what “omega level power manipulator” means. It means there is no limit to what she can do when manipulating powers, which she proves by blocking his powers and he lands hard.

Your god gives and takes away,” Hope boasts ad demands a fight. Exodus smirks that he weighs a much as four of her. She is not going to fight him. Hope agrees. She is not going to fight him. She’s going to kick his #*%$ ass!

She kicks him in the face. She beats and kicks him mercilessly as she reminds him, he was trained as a knight, but she learned fighting by sparring with her dad, and he is bigger than Exodus!

As he lies still, beaten she looks down and recalls what she said a few moments ago: “Your god gives and your god takes away.” Disgusted by her hubris, she tells him to look at what he has done to her. She walks away and orders him to stay away. She is not his messiah. He is not her church. She apologizes to Storm, telling her there are no words.

Seeing her regret and shame, Ororo believes Hope can change but she has insufficient time to ascertain if that is true for the rest. She stands close to the Arakko Gate. Lodus Logos of the Great Ring is already waiting for her, expressing impatience in one of his poems. Charles and Emma are with her. Storm announces that she has to go and asks Xavier if he doesn’t want to talk about Max. Xavier replies that he just learned his worst fears about his capacity were hopelessly naïve. He isn’t ready to talk about the death of his best friend yet. Storm instinctively wants to comfort him, but when he highhandedly informs her that he will contact her when he wants to talk, she fears he has not changed enough.

Emma snarks why waste a good insult on him, when she can just cut to the chase and say: “Well, he’s a prick.

Ororo fears Emma hasn’t changed enough either. Pointedly, she remarks that Emma seems to be taking this better than the other three. Emma admits she has been a villain before. She is used to shame, but they weren’t truly themselves. Sinister unlocked their worst selves, but they aren’t their worst selves, no matter what others think of them. Her time in the Hellfire Club taught her that. It’s not just what she did then, Storm replies strictly. It is also wrought from their present games. Emma shoots back why Storm thinks she is in a position to judge them. Emma reminds Storm of her motto “no thrones on Arakko” - and she ends up worshipped like some kind of distaff King Arthur? Is that irony or is that just her subtext becoming text? “Methinks the monarch protests too much.”

Storm bristles at her insinuations and Emma tells her she has missed something key about that awful future. Storm was a hero. Well done, but she was herself every second of that future and it was five years until she realized something was wrong! Five years of Arakko to fill her oh-so-busy schedule while they were drowning.

As if to underline her point, Lodus Logos calls Storm even more impatiently.

What did you do?” Emma quotes Storm’s earlier accusation. What the hell did she do? She did nothing until it was too late! As Storm heads for the gate, Emma calls after her, noting that she is on the Quiet Council for a reason. And with their votes gone, they need her more than ever. And she’s still about to pop off and play Ororo Munroe on Mars. Never forget whatever mess happens when her back is turned is on her too, goddess!

Not far away, Shaw and Mother Righteous stand at another gate. Shaw observes the women and states their fights are always a disappointment. You always hope they end up in catfight and… He interrupts himself and asks why she is pawing at the gate. She can’t pass through. She is not a mutant.

She replies she is admiring it. It is nice work, semiotically speaking. A load of magic circles connecting the world. But a gate isn’t the magic circle she is interested in today. She is interested in his circle. He has played his part well. He reminds her, they’ve got a budding business relationship. He wasn’t going to blow it all up by revealing the new friend of Krakoa was the money behind Selene’s powerplay. And he was thinking they should develop their relationship. He smirks that it is all going south. If Krakoa does go down, he wants it all. He wants to own Krakoa. Can she arrange that? She thinks so but wants something more practical than a “thank you.” She wants him to use his position on the council to propose certain motions. She hands him a note. These will never pass! he blusters, even with four votes gone. She doesn’t know, she laughs. Democracy has been known to be a wobbly old girl…

Days later, Storm returns to Krakoa. She has been thinking and realizes Emma was right. She has arranged a secret meeting in the Grove with another council member. She thanks them for coming. She hints the situation between her and Charles is deteriorating and she has become aware of a certain truth. She has responsibilities on two worlds and cannot be in two places at once. It would be a dereliction of duty to step down form either council.

Silently, she compares herself to Charkes. He also thinks himself indispensable, but she figures she is different because he would not do what she is about to do. He thinks himself a god king. She knows they can only make it if they work together. She tells the other person if there is an emergency on the council and she is not there, she wants them to be her proxy and vote accordingly. Will they do it? She can rely on him, Piotr Rasputin promises.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Destiny, Emma Frost, Exodus, Mystique, Professor X, Sebastian Shaw, Storm (Quiet Council)
Rasputin IV

Lodus Logos

Mother Righteous

Story Notes: 

The story continues from Sins of Sinister: Dominion.

The issue’s POV character is Storm.

Destiny made Storm steal Sinister’s lab in Storm and the Brotherhood #1.

Destiny and Mystique depowered Moira X in Inferno #4.

Storm and Professor X will have their talk about Magneto in X-Men Red (2nd series) #11.

“Ororo Munroe on Mars” is a play on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s pulp novel series “John Carter of Mars.”

Shaw first came into contact with Mother Righteous during Judgment War in Immortal X-Men #6.

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